I would read so many stories in my favourite genres and not be able to find myself as a young woman in those stories. Sure, there were minor female characters in there somewhere, but in the science fiction and fantasy classics of Heinlein, Asimov, Tolkien and others, strong female leads were hard to find. Since I hadn’t discovered Ursula K. LeGuin’s writing by that point I was perplexed and disappointed that I couldn’t place myself as a strong young woman within in the text in any significant way. Little did I know it then but the leopardess within was crouching with keen awareness, ready to take a grasshopper sized leap when she was ready… but that wouldn’t be for another twenty years.
PS. I have to laugh here. When I put this text through a spell checker I got the correct spelling for Mr. Heinlein’s and Mr. Tolkien’s name and even though I had spelled Ms. LeGuin’s name correctly the name wasn’t acknowledged in the spellchecker, go figure.